SITTING in bumper-to-bumper traffic is a daily occurrence for Geelong Road commuters.
And another 1000 University of Ballarat students moving from the city centre to Mount Helen in 2013 could add hundreds of extra cars to the mix.
Then there’s the Ballarat Technology Park expansion, set to bring 1500 workers over 10 years to Mount Helen.
Midvale News, Post and Lotto owner Shane Stevens said backed-up traffic was an everyday occurrence, with chaos reigning in the busiest times before and after school.
Mr Stevens said his business was suffering as a result, with potential customers avoiding the road altogether in peak periods.
“Potentially from the students we can get some of their business, or they might get sick of being stuck in queues and find an alternative route,” he said.
He would like to see Geelong Road duplicated, but knows this would be difficult to achieve.
“In reality it’s not going to happen – the land is not there,” he said.
Ballarat East MP Geoff Howard has regularly called on the government to get on with the job of upgrading the existing Main Road.
But for the long term, he sees a bypass on the eastern side of Ballarat as an important option to explore.
“That would obviously be of great benefit to people using the university as they would be able to use that eastern route,” he said.
“The reality is even when you get around to spending $4.5 million on Main Road, it still will be struggling to meet the needs, given the schools in the area.”
University of Ballarat Technology Park director Mal Vallance said works being undertaken by Vic Roads would see millions spent on the road over a numbers of years.
“All of those works will help,” he said.
But he also believes that upgrades to Geelong Road aren’t the only solution.
He sees a multi-pronged approach involving more public transport and an increasing use of Yankee Flat Road as important to the future.
“The City of Ballarat, the University of Ballarat, Vic Roads and the Department of Transport need to keep working the issues through,” he said.
“None of this is insurmountable.”